Election day dichotomy
Today is election day, and in its honor, I planned to pen a mildly snarky column (think Maureen Dowd, but at Wash. U.) about Student Union’s general lack of meaningful action and to remind you dear readers that although I am pleased to see at least two candidates running for each position this year (by the way, congrats to SU on achieving the bare minimum requirement for competition), I still doubt SU’s ability to take on issues that, you know, actually matter.
Then I had a change of heart…or at least change in tone.
I was driving down Lindell Boulevard tonight, and I saw a man, probably in his 20s, standing on the median and holding a cardboard sign that read, among other things, “homeless.” He was standing about 100 yards from the steps of Brookings Quad.
We all know poverty exists in St. Louis. It is a fact we tend to treat as inevitable. There is something almost unspeakably sad, however, about a man with no home standing steps away from a university that costs more than $50,000 per year to attend.
Today and tomorrow we will log on to WebSTAC and vote for the candidates most likely to improve our Wash. U. experience. The platforms to be voted upon include pseudo-compelling issues like the expansion of the campus card, the development of the SU archives and a plan to teach the entire student body the Wash. U. fight song.
These platforms are fine. They include some good ideas with the potential to improve SU and benefit the student body. They are also in no way fundamentally different from what I might have expected.
So I am not going to judge the participants for their involvement in an exercise that seems futile and trivial, when juxtaposed with the man standing on Lindell Boulevard.
Each of the students Student Life interviewed when we considered our endorsements was smart, passionate and clearly capable of achieving great things. I stand by our endorsements and also feel confident that all of the candidates running will do their best to improve our undergraduate experience.
So no, I will not judge them. I have no problem with their qualifications, their willingness to run for office or their proposed ideas. Running for student government is hard work, and it takes a decent amount of effort, dedication, talent and audacity.
So no judgment. Just a short, sad reminder that while their effort, dedication, talent and audacity will soon be devoted to improving our already luxurious, if not palatial, experience at our incredibly expensive university, on Lindell Boulevard, maybe 100 yards away, a man is homeless.
Eve is a junior in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.